Buildings and Land Use

As the physical environment changes, ensuring that land use regulations and buildings codes consider future conditions will be key in enhancing the City’s resilience, especially in the built environment. In order to meet present and future needs, land use and building codes must allow for adaptability and be informed by the best available climate and sea level rise projections. In addition, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector and save money, the City is improving energy efficiency through retrofits, LEED requirements, and encouraging green buildings. 

buildings in downtown miami off the miami river

Land Use

Miami 21, City of Miami's zoning code, takes a holistic, New Urbanism approach to land use and urban planning by emphasizing a denser, more walkable urban core. Amending Miami 21 is one way the City is ensuring that Miami is future-ready.

Amendments to Miami 21 in response to climate change and sea level rise include:

  • Density bonuses offered for exceeding green building certification levels (as per Section 3.14.3 of Miami 21)1.
  • Expanding freeboard elevation allowances to provide greater protection from storm surge as the seas rise.
  • Incorporating resilience reviews when approving special area plans.


The City of Miami has the following requirements and incentives for green building:

  • Expedited permitting is offered for green buildings as per Section 10-4(b)(3)(m) of the City of Miami Code of Ordinances.2
  • Permit fees are waived and permitting is expedited for residences looking to install rooftop solar.
  • Per Section 3.13.1b of the City of Miami zoning code, all new construction over 50,000 square feet must be LEED Silver certified.3

Actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity:

  • The City completed its first energy efficiency retrofits from 2010-2013. Annual electricity and maintenance savings of over $300,000 was achieved. 
  • As of early 2019, 8 of the City’s parks will have their sports field lights upgraded to LEDs.
  • A 0.5MW solar array will be installed in Bayfront Park.